Where should you get your car repaired after a car accident? Insurance companies tend to prefer that you use one of their authorised workshops for repairs to cut down on their costs, so they'll often give you a cheaper premium if you agree to use these authorised workshops when making a claim.
Though you should be careful to ensure that the quality of the service you receive at these workshops is up to your standards, this can be a great way to help minimise the amount you pay on car insurance. However, there are circumstances in which you may prefer to pay a little extra on your premium for the ability to get your car repaired at a workshop of your choice.
Is your car still under the manufacturer's warranty?
If you bought your car from an authorised car dealership within the last 3 years*, you probably still have a warranty on your car from the manufacturer. Under this 3-year warranty, the car manufacturer will pay to repair or replace any major parts that break, granting many new car owners significant peace of mind. Some manufacturers may even offer complimentary maintenance through their warranty. In order to maintain your warranty, however, you'll often be obligated to bring your car to the dealership's workshop for maintenance and repairs.
In this kind of scenario, you may well be better off paying a slightly higher premium to be able to bring your car for repairs to your dealership's workshop in the case of an accident. Note that some insurers, such as Tokio Marine, may make an exception in their policy to allow you to use your manufacturer's appointed workshop while your warranty is in place without requiring you to pay extra.
Do you have a continental car or parallel import?
If you have a continental car (aka a car of European make) or less common parallel import, you may also want to consider paying to be able to get your car repaired at a workshop of your choice. This is because the insurer's authorised workshop may not have the replacement parts your car may need. In the interest of avoiding a situation where your car is stuck at the workshop for an extended length of time, paying a couple hundred dollars more on your premium for flexible workshop options may be well worth the cost especially if it means avoiding renting a car in the meantime
Do you already have a garage or mechanic you know and trust?
Some people may already have a car garage or mechanic whose work they trust. If you're the kind of person for whom peace of mind is priceless, it may be worth it to ensure you get your car repaired wherever you want. Even if you're dead set on using your trusted mechanic or workshop instead of the insurer's authorised workshop, we would recommend that you take the time to shop around to find the best deal.
Which car insurance plan is cheapest to use your own workshop?
Let's assume you are definitely interested in buying a car insurance plan that will allow you to use a workshop of your choice for car repairs. Where will it be cheapest for you to do this, and how much more will you generally have to pay to add this feature? Our team at ValuePenguin took a look at the car insurance market to find out.
Using the driver profile of a 30-year-old male with 2 years' driving experience driving a 2016 Honda HR-V with 0% NCD**, we found that premiums that include a "Choose Your Own Workshop" feature were cheapest with FWD, followed by Aviva and DirectAsia.
In terms of how much extra you would need to pay to add this feature to your "regular" plan, Aviva was the only insurer of the eight we surveyed that does not charge a higher premium for this flexibility. However, it does double the excess you'll need to pay before they will cover the cost of repair if you choose an unauthorised workshop. Following Aviva, we found FWD and DirectAsia to charge the least to add the ability to get your car repaired at your preferred workshop.
If you are interested in learning about other ways you can save on your car insurance in Singapore, you can read our guides on how to choose a car insurance plan and top car insurance discounts to learn more.
*Some car manufacturers may also offer an extended warranty of up to five years, for example Borneo Motors (Toyota) and Kah Motor (Honda).
**Please note that your premiums and the extra amount you may be charged for this feature may differ depending on your driver profile and the vehicle you are insuring. Our estimates and calculations are based off of assumptions that may not be true in your case.
This article was first published at ValuePenguin.